Become an Au Pair in New Zealand
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Did you know that New Zealand has the highest animal-to-human population ratio, with only 5% of humans as compared with 95% of animals?! How cool is that?
Well imagine if you could au pair in New Zealand and immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture, natural beauty, and diversity.
From white New Zealand beaches and lush valleys to bustling cities that offer every opportunity to give you an adrenaline-filled trip, the country has a lot to offer for travel enthusiasts and backpackers.
With a strong influence of the indigenous Māori culture, the land of kiwis is a must on every wanderlust soul’s bucket list.
But planning and funding a trip to New Zealand isn’t as facile as dreaming about taking a trip to one of its wildlife sanctuaries.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t go to New Zealand. And who said you have to break the bank for a trip to New Zealand?
There are jobs that allow you to work and travel long term, and one of my favourites is au pairing.
And if you are interested in being an au pair New Zealand is an excellent country to start your au pair journey.
This guide will show you how to travel and explore New Zealand while working there as an au pair.
Don’t worry if you have no clue what the job is or how to get one. This article has all the necessary information you need on how to be au pair in New Zealand.
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What is an au pair?
An au pair (aww pair) is a job, usually taken up by women, which involves travelling to a foreign country and helping a family with the upbringing of their children.
It can be in the form of tutoring the children in your native language, helping them with school or just taking care of their needs while their parents are away.
Your job as an au pair can also include cooking for your host family’s children, driving them to school, spending time with them after school, and sometimes even looking after the host family’s house.
A lot of men work as au pairs too, but since it involves working with children, it is a role preferred by women.
The au pair must be from a different ethnic orientation than the host family so that cultural exchange can take place. Yes, you read it right.
The entire purpose of your job as an au pair would be to engage in cultural exchange while helping your host family with their childcare needs.
The host family would in return provide you with free accommodation, food, basic utilities, and some cash for personal expenditure.
While you would be away in a foreign land, looking after tiny adults, you would also be expected to get a conversational understanding of the host country’s language and engage in cultural activities.
Every country has roughly the same guidelines on what an au pair is expected to do, but these can vary, depending on what you and your host family decide.
New Zealand has some specific rules for working as an au pair and we’ll discuss that later.
First, let’s see how an au pair’s role is different from a nanny’s job – the more formal term for a babysitter in some Western countries.
Difference between an au pair and a nanny
A nanny and an au pair both help parents with taking care of children. That’s possibly the only similarity between these two roles.
A nanny is an employee of the household they are working in, paid a salary, and a legal citizen of the country their host family are living in.
A nanny’s ethnic orientation is not the same as that of the family’s, but they must be a legal citizen (also why it’s different from an au pair).
Some might argue that nannies have a lot more duties and responsibilities than an au pair and might have to handle tasks outside the domain of childcare, like cooking and cleaning or running errands.
An au pair is solely responsible for taking care of the host family’s children.
An au pair is only expected to look after the children while their parents are away. Once the parents return home, their children are their responsibility.
This is not the case for a nanny. Nannies are sometimes supposed to look after children even in the presence of their parents.
Once an au pair’s shift ends, when the parents are back home, it is time for some language learning or touristy things!
Nannies don’t engage in cultural activities or have to learn the local language because they are the residents of that country and not working in exchange for travel opportunities.
Nannies work between 35 and 40 hours per week in most countries unless hired on a part-time basis.
They also get only one day off, or whatever the labour laws in that country state.
An au pair must get a day or two free throughout the week for taking language classes or travelling.
While au pairs are only responsible for childcare, some host families might ask you to do light housework and this must be discussed before you set an agreement.
Nannies do not get the same privileges as au pairs, and vice versa.
Where a nanny gets a much higher salary and other benefits, an au pair is treated as a guest and given a relatively less amount of cash for personal use.
Nannies can also have families of their own, whereas an au pair must be single and have no dependents.
Nannies also don’t have to meet certain requirements or qualifications unlike an au pair – more on that ahead.
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How to Become an Au Pair in New Zealand
Becoming an au pair in New Zealand is very easy and a great opportunity to travel while making some cash on the side.
However, there are some requirements you must meet for being an au pair in New Zealand.
Keep reading to find out how to be an au pair in New Zealand so that you can make your travel dreams come true.
What are the qualifications?
There are only three general qualifications for becoming an au pair in New Zealand.
You must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years, belong to an eligible country, and have a clear criminal record in the past five years.
Both men and women can apply for this role, though women are most likely to take up au pair jobs.
In terms of academic qualifications, there are no strict requirements, other than the compulsion that you must have graduated from high school.
Some people who are passionate about childcare and becoming an au pair do have college degrees or specializations in teaching, education, and childcare.
While these are helpful for this role, it is not necessary. However, prior childcare experience is crucial for becoming an au pair in New Zealand.
To apply for the working holiday visa for New Zealand, you must provide have proof of at least 200 hours of childcare experience.
A validated childcare experience will allow the host family to rest assured that you know what you are doing and there would be a level of trust between both parties.
What are the requirements?
Other requirements for an au pair trip to New Zealand are that you must know how to speak English if you’re not a native speaker.
Since you would be working in an English-speaking household, you must know how to communicate appropriately.
It is also expected of an au pair to not have destructive habits like smoking or substance abuse.
As it is a job that involves engaging with children, you do not want to be a bad influence, thus avoiding any such habits.
As an au pair, you must provide a medical examination certificate as proof that you haven’t been diagnosed or treated for any mental health issue or eating disorder in the past six months.
You would also have to give proof of COVID-19 vaccination before your flight to New Zealand.
Since you would be on part-time parental duties, it is necessary to know how to cook, drive, clean, and look after your host family’s house.
Strong time management and organizational skills would also benefit your job as an au pair.
Whether it is picking up the kids from school, looking after the house, or setting aside time for your language courses, time management is essential.
Lastly, au pairs in New Zealand work for six to twelve months, so a strong dedication and commitment to this role would be helpful.
Someone with an open and positive attitude is deemed fit for this role as you would be working with children and it can be anywhere between an easy and a tiring job.
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Responsibilities of an au pair in New Zealand
With that being said, au pairs have varying work ethics in every country. In New Zealand, generally, au pairs are responsible for childcare.
It can involve picking up and dropping off kids at school, cooking meals for them, bathing and getting them dressed for the day and spending time with them engaged in games or other fun activities.
Though some families in New Zealand would ask you to help around the house like tidying children’s rooms, doing their laundry, etc.
You should always discuss your duties with your host family beforehand.
How much do au pairs get paid in New Zealand?
The au pair program in every country has a different pay scale. In New Zealand, you can expect to make anywhere between 150 to 300 NZD per week.
Your host family might also offer bonuses or extra amounts for certain tasks, but do not go in expecting this.
Some au pair programs offer bonuses as well to make sure that you complete the entire duration of your au pair journey.
Though you would be making some cash on the side, it is advised to have some savings before you begin your au pair journey in New Zealand.
Some au pair programs advise you to have at least 4000 NZD in your bank account so that you have cash for precautionary purposes.
How long do au pairs stay in New Zealand?
As said earlier, au pairs can stay in New Zealand for six to twelve months.
The stay depends on the agreement between you and your host family, as well as your visa.
Depending on your country of origin, it is sometimes possible to extend your visa for up to 23 months, but there is no guarantee.
How to find au pair jobs?
If you have decided on becoming an au pair, then starting your journey in New Zealand, is one of the best ideas.
But what will impact your au pair journey is how you find and land an au air job. There are two ways of looking for work as an au pair in New Zealand.
You can either connect with a host family on your own or register with a trusted au pair agency like Global Work and Travel.
They help you throughout the entire process!
Why use an agency for finding au pair jobs in New Zealand?
No matter where you want to become an au pair, finding a host family on your own can be a stressful and time-consuming task.
Not to mention loads of background checks you would have to do before you settle on one family.
Agencies, on the other hand, are experienced in connecting you with trustworthy host families.
Since they have a database of registered host families, it is much safer to let them handle your host family search.
As a solo female traveller, safety is a huge factor and registering with an agency helps you protect yourself from scams and frauds.
Now that’s not the only thing an agency would help you with.
From setting up the first virtual interview with your host family to preparing you for the trip and accompanying you while you’re in New Zealand, agencies like Global Work and Travel won’t leave your side.
Connecting with a family outside an agency requires making your profile, doing tons and tons of research, checking out the visa requirements, and a lot of other information that an agency will already have prepared for you.
Working as an au pair with Global Work and Travel
Finding a host family on your own is not an impossible task, Global Work and Travel just make it easier.
Global Work and Travel not just does the family search for you, but they make sure you feel safe and comfortable with the host family.
If, in any case, after landing in New Zealand, you find yourself not adjusting with the host family, Global Work and Travel will relocate you to a new home without any questions.
In fact, during the trip, a mediator is always available in case you need assistance.
Other things they help you with include:
- Visa processing
- Preparing for your au pair journey through their short online course
- Meet and greets with other travellers in the host country
- A five-night hostel stay anywhere in New Zealand so that you get a break from working
They also offer an NZ Experience Day to all au pairs which offer either a trip to Rangitoto Island, passes for the SkyWalk and SkyTower, and bungy jumping, or an exploration trip to the Auckland Bridge climb, and a wine tour at the Waiheke Island.
If you book your first trip with Global Work and Travel, you would qualify for $250 off your next trip so that your travelling expeditions don’t stop!
Are you ready to au pair in New Zealand?
Working as an au pair in New Zealand can open up many new opportunities and help you gain a new sense of freedom as a traveller.
And there are many amazing things to do in New Zealand to make this experience extraordinary.
Previously if a budget was a huge part of planning for a trip, now you can at least make some cash while strolling the streets of some foreign land.
Not only will the au pair experience allow you to engage with different cultures but feel the humanistic bond that transcends beyond geographical boundaries.
You can become a part of this experience by signing up with Global Work and Travel today and spending the next six to twelve months in Middle Earth!
Just don’t forget to brush up on your New Zealand slang before you go!
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are several requirements you must meet to become an au pair in New Zealand. You must be between the ages of 18 and 30, have a clean criminal record and bill of health, and be fluent in English. Additionally, you must be able to show proof of 200+ hours of childcare experience.
There are no set pay rates for au pairs in New Zealand, and it will vary depending on the family and city you work in. However, in general, you can expect to make anywhere between 150 to 300 NZD per week.
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